The 25 most influential people on ‘Jewish Twitter’


Ten years ago this week, Twitter was born. Never ones to miss a good conversation, Jews quickly adopted the social network, and they haven’t stopped kibitzing since.

To celebrate the birth of this post-modern Talmud, we’ve updated JTA’s 2009 list of the “100 Most Influential Jewish Twitterers” (which helped a young woman escape her family’s cult-like church, as recounted in the New Yorker. No big deal.)

Our new list — pared down to just the top 25 Twitter mavens — reflects a changed Jewish Twitter world. Among the rabbis, officials, journalists and other machers who made the cut in ’09, the only carryovers are Esther Kustanowitz, a journalist who works with actress Mayim Bialik, and William Daroff, an American Jewish communal leader who now ranks No. 1.

William Daroff (Twitter)

William Daroff (Twitter)

But keep in mind, we changed our methodology.

Compared to 2009, we left more of the analysis to software and didn’t include entities (organizations, media outlets, etc.) on our list — just people. The data analysis was done by Little Bird, a Portland-based “influencer marketing platform” that helps firms reach the right tweeters in the right fields.

So how did we come up with the “Most Influential” list? Using the terms “Jewish” and “Israel,” Little Bird‘s algorithm identified a network of 1,000 people who participate most in the Twitter discussion around Israel and Jewish issues. It then ranked those participants based on how many followers they have within the network.

As a bonus, we also generated a list of the 25 participants in the Jewish-Israel discussion who have the most followers overall — yielding some big Jewish names, like Lena Dunham, along with some surprising ones, among them ex-Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Call them Guest Stars.

Without further ado, then, here are the biggest influencers in the Jewish Twitterverse.

READ: Microsoft pulls tweeting robot after it expresses admiration for Hitler

Most Influential:

  1. William Daroff, The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office director, @Daroff
  2. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, @netanyahu
  3. Avi Mayer, Jewish Agency spokesman, @AviMayer
  4. Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., @DannyAyalon
  5. Peter Lerner, Israel Defense Forces spokesman, @LTCPeterLerner
  6. Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic correspondent, @JeffreyGoldberg
  7. Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., @AmbDermer
  8. Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, @AmbShapiro
  9. Rabbi Jason Miller, rabbi, entrepreneur and writer, @RabbiJason
  10. Barak Ravid, Haaretz diplomatic correspondent, @BarakRavid
  11. Esther Kustanowitz, editorial director of Mayim Bialik’s Grok Nation and L.A. Jewish Journal contributing writer, @EstherK
  12. Avital Leibovich, American Jewish Committee in Israel director, @AvitalLeibovich
  13. Lahav Harkov, The Jerusalem Post Knesset correspondent, @LahavHarkov
  14. Michael Dickson, StandWithUs executive director, @michaeldickson
  15. David Horovitz, The Times of Israel founding editor, @davidhorovitz
  16. Arsen Ostrovsky, human rights lawyer and journalist, @Ostrov_A
  17. Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, @MarkRegevPMO
  18. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, rabbi, British lord and author, @rabbisacks
  19. Shimon Peres, former Israeli president and prime minister, @PresidentPeres
  20. Yair Rosenberg, Tablet magazine senior writer, @Yair_Rosenberg
  21. Adam Milstein, Israeli real estate investor and philanthropist, @AdamMilstein
  22. Reuven Rivlin, Israeli president, @PresidentRuvi
  23. Khaled Abu Toameh, Arab-Israeli journalist, @KhaledAbuToameh
  24. Peter Beinart, The Atlantic and National Journal contributor and Haaretz correspondent, @PeterBeinart
  25. David Haivri, Israeli settler activist, @haivri

As for the top 5 most influential entities, which also happen to top the overall rankings, here they are in descending order: The Jerusalem Post, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Haaretz, the State of Israel and — wait for it — the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Guest Stars:

  1. Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, @billclinton
  2. Lena Dunham, actress, writer, producer and director, @lenadunham
  3. Seth Rogen, actor and comedian, @Sethrogen
  4. Matisyahu, musician, @matisyahu
  5. David Cameron, British prime minister, @David_Cameron
  6. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate, @RealBenCarson
  7. Dmitry Medvedev, Russian prime minister, @MedvedevRussiaE
  8. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, @netanyahu
  9. HAIM, rock band of three Jewish sisters, @HAIMtheband
  10. Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend singer, @arzE
  11. Ismail Haniyyeh, Hamas senior political leader, @IsmailHaniyyeh
  12. Joseph Prince, Singapore’s New Creation Church senior pastor, @JosephPrince
  13. Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., @AmbassadorPower
  14. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, prominent rabbi and author, @RabbiShmuley
  15. Ravi Zacharias, evangelical Christian author, @RaviZacharias
  16. Jean-Luc Trachsel, Swiss entrepreneur, @jltrachsel
  17. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., @AmbJohnBolton
  18. Ben Shapiro, journalist, @benshapiro
  19. Anne Bayefsky, human rights scholar and activist, @AnneBayefsky
  20. Tarek Fatah, author and activist, @TarekFatah
  21. Alon Ben-David, Israeli journalist, @alonbd
  22. Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles mayor, @ericgarcetti
  23. Judy Mozes, Israeli talk show host, @JudyMozes
  24. Udi Segal, Israeli journalist, @usegal
  25. Ayala Hasson, Israeli TV personality and journalist, @AyalaHasson

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that William Daroff was the only person to appear on both JTA’s lists of influential Jewish tweeters; Esther Kustanowitz also has that honor.

Recommended from JTA